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Dodgers are falling behind to start 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Dodgers’ road trip comes to an end on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park against the Giants, with Los Angeles still in search of its first road victory of 2018.

Quite a few different things have gone wrong in the Dodgers’ 2-6 start, their worst in 42 years. The offense very much misses Justin Turner, out with a broken wrist. There is concern about the slow start of Kenley Jansen, whose velocity is down while striking out just one of his 15 batters faced so far.

Part of the reason the Dodgers have found themselves falling behind to start the season is that they have been falling behind at the plate.

Being behind in the count is no way to live. Major league teams after falling behind 0-1 hit just .210/.259/.332 this season, compared to .255/.381/.431 after getting ahead 1-0. The Dodgers are hitting .193/.238/.251 after 0-1 counts in 2018, and they are getting pounded with first-pitch strikes at a 65.8% rate, tops in baseball.

But they haven’t been able to take advantage of getting ahead either, hitting just .167/.313/.267 after getting ahead 1-0. Only the Rays have been worse after a 1-0 count, hitting .193/.294/.239.

The Dodgers also haven’t been getting enough opportunities in those situations, just over a third of their plate appearances after a 1-0 count, compare to the 41.1% MLB average.

2018 battle for strike one

Team First pitch After 1-0 count After 0-1 count
Team First pitch After 1-0 count After 0-1 count
Dodgers 9.8% 34.2% 56.0%
MLB 10.3% 41.1% 48.5%
Source: Baseball-Reference

The Dodgers’ discipline numbers are basically the same as 2017, at or near the lowest swing percentage both inside and outside the strike zone, and overall.

They just haven’t been hitting, period, hitting just .206/.278/.289 as a team while scoring 3.38 runs per game. Believe it or not there are seven teams scoring even fewer runs so far, including the Giants at 3.29 runs per game.

Pitching matchup

Clayton Kershaw has allowed three runs in his two starts this season, all three on solo home runs. He’s 0-2 thanks in large part to the Dodger scoring just one run in those two starts.

They scored none on opening day against Ty Blach and the Giants bullpen. Blach lost his second start this season, allowing six runs on 10 hits against Seattle. That continues a trend for the 27-year-old left-hander, who owns a 1.96 career ERA against the Dodgers and a 5.21 ERA against everyone else.

Game info

Time: 1:05 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA